I’m looking for some advice on how best to set up WAV files & storage ahead of my LINA DAC being delivered next month.
I have my music stored on an iMac Pro at the moment & was planning on using Apple Airplay to stream the files directly to the LINA over WiFi but wonder if a dedicated NAS connected to the LINA/WiFi router via ethernet/USB would be a more stable/better connection?
Any help would be appreciated, thanks,
I would recommend a Roon device connected to the Lina via Ethernet and the router. You can use your iMac as the Roon device but it’s better if you can use a dedicated device like the Roon Nucleus (but there are other options too).
Then you can use the iMac or any other device (like a iPhone) to control Roon.
If you’ve never used Roon, it’s great!
dCS recommends Ethernet over USB.
AirPlay will limit your files to “CD quality.”
I heartily second the Roon recommendation!
I built an Intel NUC which is a tiny little music server. You could also buy a Roon Nucleus or similar device.
For sure some of the best money I’ve spent in over 30 years of hifi.
Thanks for this recommendation. I was unaware of the Airplay WiFi streaming limitation so ethernet it is.
I understand your question. Here are some quick considerations, from my rather long experience with what was once called “computer audio”.
You have to separate the thinking about where to stock your files and how to manage them — i.e. library management — from how to listen to your music files.
About library management :
- it can be done on a Mac ;
- the files can be either on an attached drive or a NAS ;
- my advice for files management would be to use an application like JRiver ; it has a certain learning curve and it’s not 100 % MacOS friendly, but once you’ve got the grasp of it, it’s hands down the best software for music files management and metadata editing. IMHO anyway.
- You can even rip CDs directly into the library.
- It works with an attached drive as well as with files on a NAS.
- If you stock your files on a NAS, you have the added benefit that they will be accessible for different devices on your network — any network player, your TV, your phone, tablet, etc.
About playing music files:
- The “officially recommended best solution” — i.e. the only one recommended and endorsed by dCS themselves — is using Mosaic software to configure your dCS gear(s) and to pilot the reading/playing from a MinimServer :
- You can install and get MinimServer running on a Mac; it can work either with an attached hard drive or with music files on a NAS.
- However, it seems like the best/easiest solution is to run MinimServer directly on a NAS — a Synology for example.
- I’ve read no one, nowhere, saying that it has found a better sounding solution. So…
- Next solution would be Roon software. There are people who say that it sounds as good as the MinimServer solution and I would say — with the vast majority of the members of this forum, I think — that it can sound either the same or very, very close behind.
- BUT, the sound quality of Roon software is hardware dependent, no matter what one may think about “bits being bits”. Having it run on a dedicated server definitely sounds better — I dare say it — than running it on a iMac or a MacMini — I mean the Roon Core.
- There seems to be a consensus on this forum about the Roon Nucleus being a good balance between convenience and SQ. But it comes with a price tag…
- In all truth, I haven’t tested a Roon Core running on a M1 Mac, only on Intel iMac and Intel Mini. Maybe it could bring the SQ on par with a Roon Nucleus ? I don’t know → to be evaluated.
- About Aiplay : it doesn’t provide the highest sound quality, even in 16/44. BUT it’s a most welcome convenience permitting to listen, for example, to the Digital Concert Hall ( Berliner Philharmoniker archives and live concerts), iDagio to discover classical music or “relaxed background listening”, etc. I can assure you that a concert from the Digital Concert Hall played on an iPad Pro 12.9" and streamed into a Bartók or a Rossini is absolutely breathtaking ! I absolutely beg dCS to never let down this possibility, even if it’s not the last word in sound quality !
- Let’s not forget that you can also connect a CD transport or a server à la Aurender or Innuos. But it takes a lot of money to bring it on par with network listening, and even more to better it ! In the case of a CD/SACD transport, we are talking about something like a Rossini Transport + cables, i.e. around 30’000 (GBP/USD/Euros). And in the case of an Aurender server, it’s not garanted that even a 20 K solution would be on par with listnening from a MinimServer.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity for this brief recap. I think we could maybe open a dedicated thread in case someone would have much to add to the above.
My two cents.
Thanks Olivier, that’s very insightful & will really help me narrow down the way forward in terms of best option.
I will have a good look at the cost vs. benefit & usability of the various applications/hardware but already leaning towards NAS/Mosaic for the listening bit. I’m not into streaming services, just CDs, & wont have a lots of different devices pulling from the library so the idea of a simple bridge to the Lina rather than Roon fits & hopefully keeps things simple.
Thanks again for the taking the time to share your thoughts.
My question is this: I have a Roon Nucleus , Lina Dac set up. The Lina Dac ethernet cable is connected directly into my cable modem/router. My Nucleus ethernet cable is connected from nucleus to the Switch next to the cable modem router.
A- am I setting up the best way
B- should I get a separate higher quality router and how would I then set it up?
The simple answers to your questions are “yes” and “no” in that order given the presumption that there isn’t a specific issue that you are having that you are trying to “fix”…
If you are having an issue or if there is something specific that you are trying to achieve then obviously we can try to assist but as it is then you’re fine with your Ethernet devices connected as you have described…
Myself I’d probably plug both the Lina DAC and the Roon Core into the same network switch then the bulk of the network traffic created between the Roon Core and the Lina DAC will stay within the switch and not be forwarded out to the routers switch … there’s nothing WRONG with having it set up as you have done though.
In case you wanted an additional opinion, Anthony, I agree with Phil and would move the Nucleus’s Ethernet to the switch instead of the modem.
What I’d add (but retract if someone smarter than me corrects me :-)):
- Have the Nucleus, switch and the modem on a different power circuit to the Lina — they are all likely to be a lot noisier electrically than your DAC.
- Make sure you’re using unshielded, to-spec Ethernet cable from the switch to the Lina so that this isn’t a route for electrical noise to/from the DAC.
Thanks, Phil. Just reading materials on Roon and i wanted to make sure had it set up in the most optimized way. I am however going to try your approach and set both up on the same network switch. Thanks again
Thanks, all comments are appreciated and welcome. My cable is unshielded and certified. So I’m good there and the Lina is plugged in in its own power outlet across the other side of the room from the nucleus and the Modem. The nucleus and modem are side by side. I am next looking at getting a separate router so I don’t have to use the Xfinity modem/router for the audio side of things. Thanks
Can I ask WHY you are looking to do this?
Is there an actual problem that you want to solve or are you doing it because you think it will make an improvement to your system? If it’s the latter then what improvement do you hope / expect it to make?
I’m asking because nesting routers can create a number of issues and complexities that can be anywhere between annoying and frustrating - especially if you don’t get the DHCP settings correct on the “inside” router, you can very easily end up with a setup that can’t get out to the internet or simply doesn’t work the way you might expect it to.
There are only really two reasons for nesting routers within a domestic environment and they are…
To create a temporary isolated network for fault finding or diagnosis purposes.
To “remove” a troublesome ISP supplied router from your network when the ISP locks down their system to only using their router to access their service. I understand that Sky did do this but I don’t believe it’s common nowadays.
Any other reason is simply masking an underlying problem that should be properly identified and resolved - not “tweaked” out - or masked by introducing unnecessary complexity.
Please please please do not do this because you expect it to make an improvement to the sound quality of your system by isolating network traffic from your Lina DAC and Roon Core. Networks haven’t worked that way since network switches replaced network hubs 20 years or more ago and you have effectively filtered out all the network traffic that isn’t intended for the Lina DAC and Roon Core by plugging them both into the same switch and having that switch uplinked to your router…
Network Switches “learn” what devices are plugged into their ports by keeping tables of what devices are downstream of each of their ports and only sending traffic intended for those devices out of the appropriate port - this inherently prevents network flooding which used to be a problem on networks using network hubs (not switches) with a decent number of client devices many years ago but means that if you have a switch with just your HiFi kit plugged into it which is then uplinked to your router (whether via another switch or direct) then that switch will never see any traffic that isn’t intended for any of the devices that are plugged into it as the switch that it is plugged into (remember that there’s going to be a switch in your router) should simply not send it any data that isn’t intended for the devices connected to it (or if it does then the switch won’t pass it on down the chain) … it’s all really well thought out and worked through and proven in many millions of networks every day.
Phil, first. Thank you for looking out for me and all of us in terms of maximizing our products. As i mentioned I would never use a mesh router as I do understand the downsides. What i was thinking of addressing is the usual poor quality relatively speaking the cable suppliers modem/router combos are?
I will as you suggest to simply plug both the Lina and nucleus into the same switch. Thank you
Just stopped in to say enjoy the Lina!! It’s an amazing piece. Especially after adding the clock
Whereas many ISP supplied routers are “fine” some simply cause problems - for example some that I’ve tested in the past have worked fine until they reach a “tipping point” of being busy and then start dropping data between the wired and wireless networks until they are rebooted and then they work fine again until they reach that tipping point again etc etc etc.
In that case then it’s worth replacing the router with something more capable / reliable but unless you’re having an actual problem that needs to be resolved then replacing the router isn’t something that is necessary … and of course your ISP may only support you with their supplied router - I had exactly this issue with my BT fibre to the home line where I was using their BT supplied ONTU (Optical Network Terminator Unit) but with my Ubiquiti Unifi Router … they wouldn’t accept that my broadband was down until I put their router back in place.
Thanks, this is very helpful info